Amien Rais
Amien Rais is a prominent Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

n politician who led and inspired the reform movement that forced the resignation of President Suharto in 1998. Amien Rais was the leader of Muhammadiyah
Muhammadiyah is an Islamic organization in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah, literally means "followers of Muhammad"...

, one of the two biggest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, from 1995 to 2000. Amien Rais was the Chairman of the People's Consultative Assembly
People's Consultative Assembly
The People's Consultative Assembly is the legislative branch in Indonesia's political system. It is composed of the members of the People's Representative Council and the Regional Representative Council. Before 2004, and the amendments to the 1945 Constitution, the MPR was the highest governing...

 (MPR) from 1999 to 2004.


Amien Rais was born in Surakarta
Surakarta, also called Solo or Sala, is a city in Central Java, Indonesia of more than 520,061 people with a population density of 11,811.5 people/km2. The 44 km2 city adjoins Karanganyar Regency and Boyolali Regency to the north, Karanganyar Regency and Sukoharjo Regency to the east and...

, Central Java
Central Java
Central Java is a province of Indonesia. The administrative capital is Semarang. It is one of six provinces on the island of Java.This province is the province of high Human Development in Indonesia and its Points Development Index countries is equivalent to Lebanon. The province of Central Java...

, as the second child of Suhud Rais and Sudalmiyah. The couple were Muhammadiyah activists in Surakarta
Surakarta, also called Solo or Sala, is a city in Central Java, Indonesia of more than 520,061 people with a population density of 11,811.5 people/km2. The 44 km2 city adjoins Karanganyar Regency and Boyolali Regency to the north, Karanganyar Regency and Sukoharjo Regency to the east and...

. Suhud Rais graduated from Muhammadiyah's Mualimin high school. He worked in Surakarta's religion affairs office. He also was a member of Muhammadiyah's Board of Education in Surakarta chapter. Sudalmiyah was an activist in Aisiyah, a Muhammadiyah's women organization and had been its chairperson for 20 years. She graduated from Muhammadiyah's teaching school "Hogere Indlansche Kweekschool". She was a member of Masyumi party in the 1950s. She was awarded " The Central Java Best Mother" in 1985.

Amien's siblings are Fatimah (a daughter, the first child), Abdul Rozak, Ahmad Dahlan, Siti Aisyah and Siti Asyiah. They were brought up with a strict discipline as their mother taught to them. In various occasions, Amien Rais said that his mother affected him much in his life. He always took time to meet or to consult with his mother - who died on 14 September 2001.

Family life

Amien married his childhood friend, Kusnasriyati Sri Rahayu in 1969. During their ten years of marriage, they had had no child despite various medical treatments. In Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 - on their Haj pilgrimage - they prayed to God in front of the Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 hoping that God would give them children. Two months later, Mrs. Rais was pregnant. The couple now have 5 children (Ahmad Hanafi, Hanum Salsabiela, Ahmad Mumtaz, Tasniem Fauzia and Ahmad Baihaqy).


When in primary school, Amien wanted to be a mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 which was inspired by Muhammad Saleh, the then mayor of Surakarta. Saleh was a respected person in his tenure. But in senior high school, Amien made up his mind and wanted to be an ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

. This might lead him to enroll in international relations department in Gadjah Mada University
Gadjah Mada University
The Gadjah Mada University is the largest and the oldest national university in Indonesia . founded on December 19, 1949; although the first lecture was given on 13 March 1946. The name was taken from the name of Majapahit's Prime Minister, Gajah Mada.UGM is located in Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa...

. Amien graduated from the university in 1968 and attended Al Azhar University in Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 as a student fellow until 1969. Amien earned his master degree from University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

, Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 in 1974. His thesis was on the Egypt's President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

's foreign policy. In 1984, he earned a Ph. D degree in political science from the University of Chicago. His thesis was " The Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt: Its Rise, Demise and Resurgence ". In 1988, he attended a post-doctoral program in George Washington University
George Washington University
The George Washington University is a private, coeducational comprehensive university located in Washington, D.C. in the United States...

, Washington, DC.

Activities in Muhammadiyah and ICMI

After his studies in United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, he had been a Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 specialist and noted for being a critic on US foreign policy. Controversially, Rais learned a lot about human rights and democracy in US. Amien Rais' activities in Muhammadiyah started in 1985 where he led The Council of Preacher ( Majelis Tabligh). Later in 1990, Rais was vice chairman elected in a convention ( muktamar ) in Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta (city)
Yogyakarta is a city in the Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. It is renowned as a centre of classical Javanese fine art and culture such as batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows. Yogyakarta was the Indonesian capital during the Indonesian National Revolution from 1945 to...

. Amien Rais also was active in the newly established ICMI ( Ikatan Cendikiawan Muslim Indonesia ), the Muslim Scholars Association. Rais led ICMI's Expert Council, but resigned in 1997 under pressure from Suharto because he argued on the Busang and the cases. In 1995, Rais replaced Azhar Basyir, then the chairman of Muhammadiyah, who died soon after his re-election. In 1993, at a Muhammadiyah mid-term meeting ( Tanwir ) in Surabaya
Surabaya is Indonesia's second-largest city with a population of over 2.7 million , and the capital of the province of East Java...

, Rais urged a presidential succession, a very rare issue amid the New Order
New Order (Indonesia)
The New Order is the term coined by former Indonesian President Suharto to characterize his regime as he came to power in 1966. Suharto used this term to contrast his rule with that of his predecessor, Sukarno...

 regime. The political and economical decay in Indonesia during the 90s had Rais call a comprehensive issue: the political reform. Amien Rais was eventually a forerunner in crushing the New Order regime. This made him a number one enemy for Suharto's administration.

Political career

In 1998, Amien Rais became an outspoken critic, and allied himself with the reform
Reformation (Indonesia)
The Post-Suharto era in Indonesia began with the fall of Suharto in 1998. Since then Indonesia has been in a period of transition. This era has been called the period of Reformasi...

 movement. However, this would also force the New Order
New Order
New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980 by Bernard Sumner , Peter Hook and Stephen Morris...

 regime to ban any demonstration reflecting the people's voice over Reformasi. In May 1998, Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 was in chaos situation following the riots in some parts of the city. The army and the police forces were likely unable to handle the situation as President Suharto had a state visit to Cairo, Egypt. Upon his arrival from Cairo, Suharto learnt that the situation was out of control. Several days later, he invited some Muslim prominent figures - including Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid, born Abdurrahman Addakhil , colloquially known as , was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001...

, Emha Ainun Najib, Nurcholis Madjid and Malik Fajar - to discuss the nation's current condition. Suharto proposed to establish a Reform Committee, to reshuffle the cabinet ministers and to resign from the presidency within 6 months. This was not responded to by those who attended the meeting. Suharto panicked as 14 of his ministers resigned from the cabinet. On 20 May, Amien Rais cancelled the mass rally to Monas square as an army general threated to make "another Tiananmen
Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, also known as the June Fourth Incident in Chinese , were a series of demonstrations in and near Tiananmen Square in Beijing in the People's Republic of China beginning on 15 April 1989...

" should he do so. Less than 24 hours later, Suharto resigned from his office and was replaced by Vice President B.J. Habibie. Habibie lived in Aachen, Germany.

Amien Rais and other reformists established the National Mandate Party
National Mandate Party
The National Mandate Party is a moderate Islamist political party in Indonesia. It was founded by reformists, including Amien Rais, chairman of the Muhammadiyah organization, during the Indonesian reformation...

 (Partai Amanat Nasional / PAN) on 6 August 1998. Amien Rais was elected its first chairman with Faisal Basri as secretary general. Therefore his position in Muhammadiyah was replaced by vice chairman Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif
Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif
Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif is a prominent Indonesian intellectual. Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif was the leader of Muhammadiyah, one of the two biggest Muslim organizations in Indonesia, in 1998 - 2005. Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif was the founder of Maarif Institute and who led and inspired born of Jaringan Intelektual...

. PAN gained 6 percent votes in 1999 election that failed to nominate Rais as a president's candidate. However, the political compromise made Amien lead the People Consultative Assembly (MPR ). Being a king maker, Amien Rais and other Islam parties and Golkar
The Party of the Functional Groups is a political party in Indonesia. It is also known as Sekber Golkar . It was the ruling party during Suharto's regime...

 elected Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid
Abdurrahman Wahid, born Abdurrahman Addakhil , colloquially known as , was an Indonesian Muslim religious and political leader who served as the President of Indonesia from 1999 to 2001...

 as president and Megawati Sukarnoputri
Megawati Sukarnoputri
In this Indonesian name, the name "Sukarnoputri" is a patronymic, not a family name, and the person should be referred to by the given name "Megawati"....

 as vice president. Amien Rais was also the leading figure in the Indonesian constitution's amendment process.

In 2004 presidential election
Indonesian presidential election, 2004
The first direct presidential election in Indonesia was held in two rounds on 5 July and 20 September 2004. Prior to a 2002 amendment to the Constitution of Indonesia, the President and Vice President was elected by the country's top legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly.Under the...

, Amien Rais and Siswono Yudohusodo - nominated by PAN, The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and some small political parties - earned 15% of the vote.

Amien Rais is currently the Chairman of PAN's Advisory Board, Muhammadiyah
Muhammadiyah is an Islamic organization in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah, literally means "followers of Muhammad"...

's Advisory Board, and is a professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 at Gadjah Mada University.

External links

King Maker on Nationwide Political StageBiography: Prof Dr H.M. Amien Rais, MA
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